stimulus for the soul

In 2004 I had the honor of being among the first class of Centurions, a 1-year mentoring program in Christian worldview sponsored by Chuck Colson and PFM (what used to be called Prison Fellowship before the marketing folks got a hold of it). The time with Chuck and his teaching staff was profound, and I continue to this day to benefit from being a member of this extended community. One of Chuck’s teacher, who has become a mentor for me, as well as for him, is T.M. Moore. One of T.M.’s ministries is to write a weekly devotional for the Centurion community. This week’s devotional was profound in terms of its diagnosis of our nation’s present ills and the way out of the malaise. Here it is:

Vol. 2, No. 49
19 February 2009

This method’s no madness!

In Psalm 12 David decried the preponderance of lies, half-truths, and deceit that characterized his day. The Lie, in fact, had all but driven the Godly folk underground, while evil men boasted about their prowess, autonomy, and ability to do whatever they planned. All that was good – everything which had its origins among the people of God – was being stolen and trashed by the promulgators of the Lie, and the people of God, poor and groaning, cried out to the Lord for relief. In response to their fervent pleas, God decided to rise up and deliver them. But His program of deliverance for a people up to their eyeteeth in lies is not political; instead, God pledged to deliver His people from the oppression of the Lie by taking them back to His Word (vv. 5, 6).

The Word, God reminded them, is pure and faultless (v. 6). God has spoken His Word, and He will carry it out (v. 7). By His precious and very great promises He will guard and shield His people (v. 7), but they must take refuge in that Word, so that they can sort out the Truth from the Lie and stay the course of obedience to the Lord. The wicked and vile may stalk and prowl and strut about on every side, but the Word of God will keep and protect all who submit to its teaching.

Festus thought the Apostle Paul mad because he appealed to the Word of the Lord in his defense (Acts 26.19-29). Doubtless today many would consider us naïve, uneducated, and certainly unsophisticated if we began to insist that the release from woe and uncertainty that this nation sorely needs will not be found in government bailouts but in the revelation of God in Scripture. So desperate are Americans becoming, as job losses and foreclosures and the rolls of the unemployed continue to rise, that they are willing to accept just about any scheme that promises to preserve their wellbeing against the encroaching evil of economic collapse. To call them to seek the wisdom and will of God in Scripture will undoubtedly expose us to mountains of scorn and opprobrium.

Nevertheless, only the Word of God can light the path to order, security, and prosperity. In troubled times – as at all times – the Christian submits his or her mind to the Word of God, and from behind that pure and unchanging visor, looks out on the world of sin and the fears and needs of our neighbors. The problems facing this nation are not, in the first place, economic or political. It’s not a question of how many billions will be necessary to prop up the economy, or which side of the isle has the best program to shore up our future. The economic and political frenzy in which we are currently embroiled is merely a reflection of the turmoil, uncertainty, wickedness, fear, and ignorance in the souls of our countrymen. Yet we are a nation in which over 90% of our citizens profess to believe in God and some 40% claim to have a born-again relationship with Him. How can we be so insistent on the reality of God and certain of our status in relationship to Him, and at the same time – as certainly seems to be the case – so utterly ignorant and untrusting of His Word?

It’s because we have not sheltered in the Word with respect to the everyday realities of our lives. That is, we have not developed a Biblical way of thinking and living in the practical, day-to-day activities, roles, and relationships that make up our normal routines. We love the Word and fervently embrace it while we’re at church or discussing with one another in our Bible study groups. But when it comes to applying the teaching of Scripture to the economic, moral, social, political, vocational, and cultural activities of our lives, we don’t know where to begin. This is why Biblical worldview matters so much, why it is so important that a generation arise who are resolved to immerse their minds and lives in the Scriptures, to cling to every Word of God as reliable and true altogether, and to prove the faithfulness and power of Scripture by daily obedience in every area of life and interest.

God has raised up the Centurions to help spawn that new generation, that movement of people who live in the shelter of the Truth and fight against the Lie in every conversation, relationship, and activity of their lives.

For reflection and action

“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” Psalm 12:5

Do we long for the safety of God’s Word?

T. M.

Reprinted with permission. T. M. Moore, Copyright 2009 BreakPoint / PFM.

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